Chana Masala

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

I'm currently writing my dissertation.
It focuses heavily on (surprise, surprise) food. And specifically Indian food. I'm looking at the relationships between food and travel, food and people and a load of other interesting and delicious things. So in the name of research, I am currently whipping up all sorts of Indian delights. I'm memorising the scent of frying spices, the taste of salty chickpeas and the irresistible doughy quality of yeasted flat breads. I love this kind of research.
So, I've recently become obsessed with Chana Masala. A northern India stew of tomatoes and chickpeas popular in Punjab and Gujarat. It is commonly found at street vendors and eaten with flat bread. We're eating it a lot at the moment. I'm making a batch a week and Jack and I can't get enough. We're currently enjoying it with Game of Thrones episodes and increasingly elaborate Avengers theories. As all curries should be, really.

For Chana Masala you will need (serves 3-4):

vegetable oil
2 onions
1 large clove garlic
half thumb sized piece of ginger
1 red chilli
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 tin plum tomatoes
2 tins chickpeas
salt and pepper
1/2 lemon

Begin by finely chopping the onion. Deseed and finely chop the chilli and grate the garlic and ginger.

Heat a slug of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan and heat up. Then add in the prepared onion, chilli, garlic and ginger. Fry for about five minutes until the onion is translucent. 

Then line up your spices ready to add in!
Ground cumin, ground coriander, cumin seeds, smoked paprika, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne pepper.

Add all the spices in and fry together for five minutes. Don't worry too much if the spices start to stick, just keep the onions moving around.

Then add the plum tomatoes and break them up. Add in half a can of water at this point, too.

Then add in the chickpeas and simmer for 10 minutes.

Before serving, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt and taste as you go.

Serve to hungry bellies with flat breads or rice.
This curry will happily keep for a good few days so make a pot for the week! 


  1. As somebody who handed in their dissertation two months ago, I wish you the most heartfelt good luck. Baking, eating and blogging helped me through it when I couldn't stand to look at another reaction scheme. This looks like perfect comfort food/research for times like these :)

    1. Thanks so much, Laura!
      I'm hoping this kind of research will keep me sane and in a good supply of snacks! x


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